Googlewhack

dave gorman

A Googlewhack is a type of a contest for finding a Google search query consisting of exactly two words without quotation marks, that returns exactly one hit. A Googlewhack must consist of two actual words found in a dictionary. A Googlewhack is considered legitimate if both of the searched-for words appear in the result page.

Published googlewhacks are short-lived, since when published to a web site, the new number of hits will become at least two, one to the original hit found, and one to the publishing site. The term Googlewhack first appeared on the web at UnBlinking in 2002; the term was coined by Gary Stock. Subsequently, Stock created The Whack Stack, at googlewhack.com, to allow the verification and collection of user-submitted Googlewhacks.

‘New Scientist’ has discussed the idea of a Googlewhackblatt, which is similar to a Googlewhack except that it involves finding a single word that produces only one Google result. Lists of these have become available, but as with Googlewhacks they result in the Googlewhackblatt status of the word being destroyed – unless it is blocked by robots.txt (a convention to prevent cooperating web crawlers and other web robots from accessing all or part of a website which is otherwise publicly viewable) or the word does not produce any Google results before it is added to the list, thus forming the Googlewhackblatt Paradox. Those words that do not produce any Google search results at all are known as Antegooglewhackblatts before they are listed – and subsequently elevated to Googlewhackblatt status if it is not blocked by robots.txt.

One way a Googlewhackblatt’s status can be ruined is when an entirely unrelated website including the word is created. An example of this is the nonsense word ‘Bumruff’ which originally returned a single result (the surname of a woman living in Ireland in 1911), but once a person on Xbox Live chose the name as a gamertag, the word’s status as a Googlewhackblatt was destroyed.

Feedback stories are also available on the New Scientist website, thus resulting in the destruction of any existing Googlewhackblatts that are ever printed in the magazine. Antegooglewhackblatts that are posted on the Feedback website become known as Feedbackgooglewhackblatts as their Googlewhackblatt status is created. In addition, New Scientist has more recently discovered another way to obtain a Googlewhackblatt without falling into the Googlewhackblatt Paradox. One can write the Googlewhackblatt on a website, but backwards, and then search on elgooG to view the list properly while still keeping the Googlewhackblatt’s status as a Googlewhackblatt.

In contrast to Googlewhacks, many Googlewhackblatts and Antegooglewhackblatts are nonsense words or uncommon misspellings that are not in dictionaries and probably never will be.

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